the only word is courage

This is a bit heavy for a Monday morning, or any morning, for that matter. A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times profiles the story of Assiya Rafiq, who was brutally raped and attacked, only to be delivered to the police and raped again by four police officers, repeatedly, over the course of two weeks. According to the article this is not unusual in Pakistan, and Assiya was expected to kill herself after the second round of rapes. After all, she was the one who should be ashamed.

Instead, she is fighting back.  Her family has had to go into hiding. Assiya and her younger sisters have been threatened with kidnapping, rape, murder. But still she won’t give in. Assiya is sixteen years old.

I can’t help but ask myself what I’ll fight for today, tomorrow – in my lifetime.  I’m going to start by fighting for Assiya, and you can, too. You can send funds through Mercy Funds (Mercy Corps advises that to stipulate that the money should go to Assiya, donate it to the Mukhtar Mai fund and then, in the comment field at checkout, say that it is for Assiya) or contact government officials.

Assiya Rafiq and her mother. From the New York Times, 7/25/09.

Assiya Rafiq and her mother. From the New York Times, 7/25/09.

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